Married Met Police sergeant, 30, was told he could face jail time for using his iPhone to spy on woman in the shower
A married police sergeant who used his iPhone to spy on a woman in the shower has been found guilty of voyeurism and threatens to end his career.
The victim said she felt “confused and shocked” after she caught 30-year-old Benjamin McNish attempting to take nude photos of her through a glass panel on the morning of February 18, 2019.
The 30-year-old Metropolitan Police detective, who is currently suspended, claimed he used the device as an ‘extension of my eyes’ to find his razor after forgetting to shave for a drink at work.
But he was found guilty today by a Southwark Crown Court jury of voyeurism, by observing a person commit a private act for his sexual gratification.
McNish, a married father of two, from Benfleet, Essex, has degrees in Chinese and Spanish, speaks seven languages and was promoted to sergeant just three years after joining the Met.
Benjamin McNish, a Met Police detective convicted of spying on a woman who was taking a shower
But he is now almost certainly at the end of his policing career and could be sent to prison if convicted on July 15 by Judge Jeffrey Pegden, QC.
McNish was staying with the woman and one of his senior colleagues, Chief Inspector Garry Smith, in a small flat in north London at the time of the crime.
The night before, McNish brought up the shower arrangement for the next day and offered to use the bathroom before the wife.
The next morning, the woman heard that the shower was in use and waited her turn.
As she got into the shower and took off her pajamas, she looked up to see a phone poking above the glass panel, the court heard.
Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) Chief Prosecutor Andrew Levin said: “Benjamin McNish was an on-duty police officer who saw a woman shower without her consent for his own sexual gratification.
“This was a private act that McNish was not allowed to observe. He violated the victim’s privacy by spying on her in a bathroom. His actions were clearly illegal and totally unacceptable.
Benjamin McNish at Southwark Crown Court today. McNish was staying with the woman and one of his older colleagues in a small flat in north London at the time of the crime.
During the trial, McNish claimed that he had just used his phone to look for his razor by the sink, but the prosecution was able to prove to the jury that this was an absurd lie.
“The CPS will always strive to prosecute those who commit crimes, regardless of who they are, where the evidence is.”
McNish had been involved in the reorganization of the Met’s child abuse department and was due to take on a new role on the police investigation team into rape and sex crimes at the time of the incident.
Prosecutor William Eaglestone told the jury that his actions could be considered more sinister than “peeping Tom, Carry On movie-like behavior.”
“You might think that police officers, not least police sergeants, can be expected to behave more decently than the general public.”
The court heard the woman did a “double take” when she saw McNish’s phone while she was washing, then grabbed her towel after seeing him for the second time.
“When I saw the phone for the second time, I was quite confused and shocked. I assumed someone was filming me,” she said.
‘I didn’t turn off the shower. I just grabbed the towel against my chest, yanked the door open, and immediately after I opened the door, I saw Mr. McNish standing outside.’
She said he looked “a little startled, like a rabbit in the headlights” and that she started yelling at him.
McNish waved his arms up and down and told the woman to “calm down” so as not to wake his senior colleague, the court heard.
Jurors heard her confront McNish about whether he was taking pictures of her, and he replied, “Yeah, I was, but I deleted them.”
McNish gave evidence, saying that his “sole intention” had been to find his razor and that he had first tried, but failed, to look through the glass panel of the bathroom door.
“I decided maybe I could use my phone as an extension of my eyes to see if I could see my razor,” he said.
The court heard that McNish had been diagnosed with dyspraxia weeks after his arrest in March 2019, and he told the jury, “I think it gave me tunnel vision.”
He said he only saw a “small patch of ceiling” but “accidentally took a picture of the outside of the bathroom door” when he heard the woman storm out of the shower.
“I expected the bathroom door to open. I took a step back into the living room and then the penny dropped.
“I knew exactly what this would look like – standing outside the bathroom with a phone in my hand while (the complainant) used the bathroom.”
McNish added, “I knew (she) was in the shower, but I wasn’t looking at a naked woman when I put my phone against the window pane.”
McNish showed no emotion when he was unanimously convicted of voyeurism by the jury of seven men and five women at Southwark Crown Court.
He now faces up to two years in prison for the crime.
Judge Jeffrey Pegden, QC, said, “I believe this is crossing the guardianship threshold. I can only imagine he will lose his job because of this.’
He was released on bail until sentencing.
A count of possession of an extreme pornographic image, which was not part of the trial, remained on file.
DS McNish was reportedly found holding a vicious video of a woman getting oral sex from a dog, he denied the charges.